Plein Air Painting - New York 2016

Harlem Adventures- Apollo Theater

Painting outdoors poses a lot of problems as compared with painting in the studio, where you have a controlled environment. Working on the sidewalks of a great city requires even more attention.
The autumn light was wonderful , I went out early in the morning straight to 125th street ready to capture the hustle-bustle of people and the light on the iconic Apollo Theater facade.
I opened my easel and pochade box strategically in the sun trying to neutralize the 12c. temperature.
125th street - New York
Apollo Theater
After some minutes stablishing the composition and block in, my view of the theme is completely blocked!
Apollo Theater - New York
My view completely blocked by a sidewalk vendor
Apparently I had chosen a spot already taken by its usual owner. The young man parked his cart some steps from me and after a look that I didn´t understand at that moment, he started to assemble his stand and merchandise .
What to do? Considering that I was painting in a neighborhood that I had no idea of what kind of risks I was exposed, I just continued  working, trying to see "through" the obstacles. 
Little by little, his stand was assembled, my view was cleared, and we got along with each other all the morning in our activities.
Sandra Nunes
Plein Air Painting in New York
Apollo Theater

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Sunflowers on my way

We never know what we can find on the sidewalks, mango trees, almond tree, orchids and so many other trees and bushes defying the stone pavement, lending much more beauty to the Wonderful City. 
This morning I found this sunflower bed on my way. I could not lose the opportunity of capturing such a feast for the eyes!

Sunflower Bed
Soft Pastels
Sandra Nunes

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Paraty - High Tide

The Colonial Village of Paraty welcomes tourists for the Holy Spirit Festival. The historic center is all dressed up in red and white, its colorful colonial houses bathed by the sun are reflected on the flooded streets.
The so called Brazilian Venice is really a feast for the eyes!
Paraty- High Tide
oil on canvas 73 x 54 cm
Sandra Nunes

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Urca - Ramon Franco Street

This is one of my favorite places to paint in Rio de Janeiro - the district of Urca. I love the leafy trees along the streets filtering the harsh summer light!

Ramon Franco Street
oil on linen 30x50 cm
Sandra Nunes

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Arte de Portas Abertas - Santa Teresa Open Studios

This weekend the charming district of Santa Teresa will be hosting a great Art Event. I am participating with some recent works  in Casalegre Art Vila. Monte Alegre street 316. If you happen to be in the area, stop by!

Santa Teresa open studios
Sandra Nunes


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Ilha Grande

Back to Paradise Island. The turquoise color water under a bright afternoon light was inviting my brushes!

Ilha Grande - Praia da Bica
óleo sobre tela
Sandra Nunes
Sandra Nunes
Pintando na Ilha Grande - Praia da Bica

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Worldwide Paint Out - Rio de Janeiro 2016

I arrived early at the meeting point as I knew that later, with the artists arriving it would be very difficult to concentrate on my painting. Corcovado Hill was playing hide and seek with the clouds barely revealing its contours. The artists started to come and little by little the sun made its way through the clouds mirrowing the movement of the artists down here.

That was the moment I wanted to register on my canvas...
Urca- Sunday Morning
oil on canvas - 30 x 60 cm
Sandra Nunes
I´ve been coordinating this venue in Rio for 12 years, this time I was positively impressed, as we had 75 artists coming from Rio and other cities, some of them traveling more than 500 km to participate. They came from São Paulo, Piracicaba, Paraty etc... We had a great time painting together!

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Victoria Regia

This is one of the soft pastels plein air paintings I have done in preparation for a large dimension commission in oils. Standing by the pond at the Botanic Garden, observing the movement of the waterlilies opening and eventually closing before I could finish the paintings was a good challenge.

"Victoria Regia"  Soft Pastels
Sandra Nunes

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Outeiro da Glória - Sidewalk carpet

I love this time of the year when the almond trees carpet the sidewalks

Outeiro da Gloria
Sidewalk Carpet
Sandra Nunes
Soft Pastels on Wallis

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The Undertow

On the Eve of the Olympics Rio 2016, the star of last weekend was the undertow. It was an excellent opportunity to capture once more the hypnotic movement of the waves. The sea is always an inspiration and capturing the dynamic of its movement is a great challenge!
the undertow
oil on panel
16x22 cm
Sandra Nunes

This is a less than one minute video of a beautiful moment of this plein air painting session. Enjoy!

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Plein Air Painting - Europe 2016 - London - Part III

Russia and the Arts - The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky
Sandra Nunes
National Portrait Gallery
London 2016
 One of the highlights of my trip to Europe this year was having to chance to attend this exhibition in London. A collection of portraits of Musicians, writers, actors, and artistic patrons is on display with masterpieces from the prestigious Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow
It is a parade of faces, feelings in a reunion of heroes from the end of the nineteen century till 1914. They are intense, tormented...

Modest Mussorgsky, 1881 by Ilia Repin

This masterpiece by Ilya Repin portrays the composer Modest Mussorgsky on his last days is of his life at the age of 42. The painting was commissioned by Pavel Tretyakov, the philanthropist who founded the state gallery, it was painted in a military hospital in St Petersburg.The composer sat for four difficult days in 1881, dying before the planned final sitting. Repin found it the most powerful and poignant commission of his career, donating his fee to a memorial for the composer.

Mikhail Vrubel, Portrait of N. Zabela Vrubel 
But while we are familiar with figures such as Akhmatova, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Tolstoy , we are less familiar with the Russian painters of the time.Painters like Serov, Repin and  Mikhail Vrubel are almost unknown in the western hemisphere. We are much more familiar with Russian avant garde painters like Kandinsky and Malevich.

Fedor Dostoesvsky, 1879 by Vasily Perov
Dostoevsky's portrait by Perov shows a frail man sitting in the dark, pale and skinny, showing all the suffering he had during the years he was arrested, sent to a labour camp and the subsequent five years of enforced military service.
Nothing I can write here can describe what one feels seeing this masterpiece up close and personal.

"Russia and the Arts is an exceptional collection of works. Many of these had never left Russia prior to this exchange, and certainly most have never been seen in the UK before. But more than this, it is a genuinely fascinating show that reveals much of the variety in artistic styles in Russian painters at that time, and, in the shadows that haunt their sitters, these portraitists reveal much of the turbulence and turmoil that engulfed Russia in these years."  Huffingtonpost

Time to rest my eyes and do my "homework". Painting the postcard, after all  I am in London!
At this time of the year, days are longer, it is nice to watch the sunset at 10 pm! 

Sandra Nunes
Painting the London Bridge
London 2016
You can read London part II here

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Plein Air Painting - Europe 2016 - London Part II

Continuing from my last post, ( you can read it here) I´ll write now about my reencounter with another Great Master:
John Constable

Nature and Nostalgia
Constable took a long time to achieve recognition. While his work was just as radical as Turner's, it shows none of the latter's constant searching for new subjects. He admired earlier Dutch painters as "a stay at home people, hence, their originality" His work was located in familiar territory beginning with his native Stour Valley between Suffolk and Essex.

Salisbury Cathedral from river Avon, 1820
oil on canvas
John Constable

Some of Constable sketches record individual motifs that reappear in finished paintings while others, provided the basis for entire compositions. 
Cloud study
 John Constable
pochade study
John Constable

From the 1780 s British and French painters began increasingly to make small scale oil sketches out of doors. These sought to capture subtle effects or light and atmosphere, and were not usually intended as finished works of art, John Constable was the great English Master of this medium. Being in a gallery surrounded by all that little gems was a dream come true!
Sandra Nunes at
Constable Gallery of studies
Victoria and Albert Museum - London
John Constable
John Constable
 He based his art on study from Nature, making drawings and small oil sketches outdoors working direct from the motif.  His subjects were chosen from personal meanings or associations. Even early pictures are imbued with sentimental memory. Nostalgia dominated his later work, reflecting his faith in the continuity of rural life in an age of change

John Constable
Cloud study
John Constable

The largest surviving group of these studies, over ninety works, was given to Victoria & Albert Museum by the artist's daughter. They shed unique light on Constable's working practice and are remarkable for their spontaneity and accuracy.

Time to rest the eye and do my "homework":

In a completely different surrounding than Constable's I went to capture the light and atmosphere of a wet day in London.
When I got to the site, it was only cloudy, but before I could start my work the rain came down. Fortunately there was a bus stop close by and I had shelter for the painting session.
This was one of that experiences that we never forget!

At the bus stop
Euston Road

Sandra Nunes
Plein air painting - Euston Road
To be continued...
Next post, an amazing exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery: "Russia and the Arts" 

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Plein Air Painting - Europe 2016 - London Part I

I´m back from Europe, as usual I'm late with my posts here and as usual greatly inspired after an overdose of  viewing great Art,  I feel like painting 24 hours a day!
I´ll try to show here some highlights of these amazing days.

Meeting Sargent...
Meeting Sargent - Tate Britain Gallery
While it is wonderful to see great masterpieces up close and personal , we can never lose the opportunity to learn from the studies and the unfinished works...

Study for Madame Gatreaux
J. S. Sargent
Turner's many studies of Nature forms and fleeting effects convey the artist's inquisitive mind and his constant search for the pictorial possibilities in the world around him. Spanning fifty one years of his life, they served as valuable reference material in the composition and finished works.

Trees and Skies
J.W. Turner
Goring Mill and Church - JW. Turner
There´s no preliminary drawing in this unfinished work,
the sky is sufficiently developed o show that the weather
is fine and the war clouds suggest afternoon...

Their function as studies allowed for greater freedom to experiment with format, medium and technique. Turner´s focus varies from the single motif to wider views of the landscape, encompassing foliage, mountains, rivers, skies and the sea which exerted a particular fascination for him later in his life.

J. W. Turner

Turner drew prolifically in sketchbooks of various shapes and sizes, some of which(about 300!) are now held at Tate. In 1801 he used this small sketchbook during hs tour in Scotland, which included an exploration on the Highlands. This  sketchbook below is open at studies completed in guache, a more opaque medium than watercolor, giving solidity to the mountain form.

Turner's Sketchbook

                                       Time to rest the eyes and do my "homework":
Sandra Nunes
Sketching in watercolor - Hyde Park
To be continued in the next post with another Great Master: Constable!

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Paraty - Festa do Divino

I´ve been working in the city of Paraty these days. This is a Unesco World Heritage site and it  is a painter´s dream! This year the village received us like this: the colonial houses bathed by the May sun and all dressed up in red and white for the traditional "Feast of the Holy Spirit"
Paraty - Festa do Divino
oil on canvas 27 x 35 cm
Sandra Nunes

Sandra Nunes
Painting in Paraty

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São Clemente Street

The charming district of Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro-  Carioca SoHo
São Clemente Street - Botafogo
Sandra Nunes
oil on canvas 46x65 cm

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Marina da Gloria

Rio de Janeiro is getting ready for the Olympics. Marina da Gloria was completely remodelled for the Nautical games, its amazing, the view is a post card for itself.

 The bike easel  sometimes takes me to places that are sometimes impossible to reach by car.Why not join two pleasures and work?

Marina da Gloria
oil on panel 16x22cm
Sandra Nunes
Pochade Box on my bike-ease

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Afternoon tea - watercolor

I´ve been painting more with watercolor these days. I enjoyed playing with the subtle values creating a light atmosphere.
Afternoon Tea
watercolor on Saunders waterford
Sandra Nunes

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Painting reminiscences -work in progress... time travel

During the Olympic Games there will be an exhibition in Rio about the city on the nineteenth and early twentieth century. I was one of the artists invited to tell this visual story. Plein air painting is a good way to travel through time, besides finding old buildings, survivals of a bygone era, being on the site provided me the opportunity to listen to the stories of passersby.I will post t the finished painting later.

Thanks to two passersby who spontaneously took these pictures and sent them to me.

Sandra Nunes painting Castelinho do Flamengo
work in progress

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Sometimes we go far away in search of inspiration and it happens to be just beside us.
Afternoon Light
Sandra Nunes
Watercolor on Saunders Waterford paper 300

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Summer on the Bike Path

High summer, there is an explosion of Flamboyants in bloom all over the city. The fallen flowers turn the bike path into a yellow/red carpet!
This morning..
Summer on the Bike Path
Flamboyants in Bloom
Sandra Nunes
oil on canvas

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